China on Tuesday announced its contribution to a global climate pact that's supposed to be adopted this year in Paris, pledging to reduce the intensity of its carbon emissions and to halt their growth by 2030.
During a visit to the French capital, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang said in a statement that the world's most populous nation and top carbon polluter will aim to reduce its emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 60-65 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels.
Beijing's goals, which were formally submitted to the U.N. later Tuesday, also included previously announced pledges to achieve a peak in overall emissions around 2030 and to raise the percentage of energy consumption from low-carbon sources to 20 percent by that year.
Li said the targets show "that China is exerting its utmost in addressing climate change, and that China is fully committed to playing an even greater part in global governance and in advancing common development of mankind."
The U.S. and the European Union have already announced their climate targets, meaning the world's top three carbon emitters have now made pledges for the Paris deal, which would be the first agreement to require both developed and developing nations to take actions to curb global warming.
China announced some of its targets last year in a joint statement with the United States, injecting momentum into the climate talks by signaling that two countries that had previously been at odds in the negotiations were moving forward together.
After a meeting with Li, French President Francois Hollande said China's contribution "confirms its commitment to build an `ecological civilization.'"
Environmental groups also applauded China's contribution, though many had hoped for more ambitious targets.
"China has only ever been on defense when it comes to climate change, but today's announcement is the first step for a more active role," said Li Shuo of Greenpeace. "For success in Paris, however, all players — including China and the EU — need to up their game. Today's pledge must be seen as only the starting point for much more ambitious action."